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UCD Quinn School student wins Nobel Scholarship

  • Date: Thu, Mar 3, 2022

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Pictured: Altamash Shaikh

Altamash Shaikh, Stage 2 Business and Law candidate at UCD, has been selected as the first UCD Nobel Scholar following a competitive application process. He joins an elite group of 11 students from universities around the world.

“Winning the scholarship meant a lot to me. Not only would I be representing UCD, but in fact all of Europe, as most participants were from America,” said Altamash. “It was a fantastic opportunity and a unique experience. I do not think I will ever get to do something like this again.”

The Nobel Scholarship is a new initiative in UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business, in partnership with Education First, and the Forum on Education Abroad, to collaborate in a global module supporting a small group of international changemakers to work and learn together, and participate in the Nobel Dialogues week, part of the Nobel Prize events in Sweden. UCD Quinn School will be the academic host of this programme for the next three years and will send a scholar each of these years.

Originally from Mumbai, India, Altamash fled his homeland due to religious persecution and arrived to Ireland in 2017. With little more than clothes and a phone, he spent several years in direct provision accommodation in Ireland. As he progressed through the Irish Education system, his hard work and dedication earned him a place at UCD. In 2020, his story was profiled in the Irish Independent, 'From Mosney to UCD Law'.

“From my experience, I believe the inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers in all areas is an ongoing crucial development for our society… Support for higher education for asylum seekers as provided by Ireland enhances the progress of individuals and also advances society and the economy.” Altamash’s full personal statement can be read here.

The high-impact student scholarship invited future leaders from around the globe to apply to the prestigious program. Selected students participated in an online project-based course in December 2021 due to Covid travel guidelines. In the future, students will travel to Sweden for an international field study to attend sessions at the Nobel Week Dialogue. The collaborative event brings some of the world’s leading scientists, policymakers, and thinkers together to explore scientific topics through a global lens.

“The scholarship gives students a chance to engage in critical thinking with a diverse group of people who not only study different courses but are from different nationalities and cultures,” commented Altamash. “This collaborative thinking helps in tackling major societal issues as everyone brings their own unique experience. It also allows you to learn soft skills such as conflict management and how to present opinions in a way that is considerate towards others.”

“Getting to meet and interact with Nobel laureates was also quite a unique experience.”

In addition to his BBL studies, Altamash is extremely active in student life at UCD. He is currently working on improving the academic advising program at UCD’s Law School as a member of a strategy group which offers recommendations to the Dean. Altamash is a class representative in the UCD Students’ Union, as well as a mentor in the Empower the Family Mentoring Student Housing Charity. He is also a student ambassador for UCD, peer mentor and an access leader, among other roles on campus. His commitment to supporting and improving the UCD community earned him the UCD in the Community Award Volunteering Gold Award for completing 77+ hours of volunteering in 2021. In addition, he works part time as a retail assistant at Dublin Zoo.

Altamash is also working with documentary filmmaker Aoife Kelleher on a programme about growing up in direct provision in Ireland for RTE.

“Altamash is a truly outstanding student, who has taken on a leadership role in many areas of our community life in UCD,” said Director of UCD Quinn School and Associate Dean of the UCD College of Business Maeve Houlihan. “In his Nobel project, he is giving a voice and offering insight on the experience of Muslims and Human Rights. We’re proud for him to represent UCD as part of the Nobel Dialogues Week in Sweden, and of this initiative as an extraordinary opportunity for student change makers to further learn and grow.”

"Altamash is a global citizen and makes a difference in the life of our School. I know he will go on to do great things in this world.”

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